If ever there was a movie made on the third test between India and Australia, it would be called “Sledging, Scuffing and Sulking.” Due to sledging by Paine and questionable actions by Smith, Australia truly wins the ‘unfair play’ award, if there is one.
It is quite a sad thing for a brilliant game of Test cricket to not be remembered for what happened on the field. Yes, we are talking about the 3rd Test between India and Australia. The match is going to go down in history as a match that was stopped while the police dealt with racism on the ground, banter that quickly turned into disrespectful sledging, and even unethical behaviour on the ground.
Playful Banter Or Disrespectful Sledging?
Australian wicketkeeper Tim Paine kept talking behind the stumps when Ashwin was on the stumps to throw him off. Ashwin retorted with an equally powerful jibe which the keeper couldn’t handle. Paine, visibly agitated replied with an abusive statement.
This happened during the 5th day of the 3rd Test Match. Tim Paine’s abuse-ridden ‘banter’ was picked up by the stump mic. One such moment was Tim Paine saying how he is excited to take Ashwin on in the last test of the series. “Can’t wait to get you to the Gabba, Ash,” Paine said.
Ashwin who already had been on the receiving end of this banter for a while decided to reply, “Can’t wait to get you to India, it’ll be your last series.”
On this retort, Paine lost the little cool he had and called Ashwin a di**head. He also rubbed salt on wounds by mentioning Ashwin’s IPL contract. “At least my teammates like me, di**head. How many IPL teams wanted you when you asked every single one of them?” Paine said.
Paine; Can’t wait to get you to the Gabba, Ash
Ashwin; Can’t wait to get you to India, it’ll be your last series
Paine; At least my teammates like me, dickhead pic.twitter.com/1XBTmAiAue
— Nick Toovey (@OneTooves) January 11, 2021
After the match, Tim Paine held an impromptu press conference where he expressed his disappointment towards himself.
In the conference, Paine said, “We all know that stump mic is part of the broadcast and it is great to bring the viewers that close and to be able to hear and unfortunately I set a pretty poor example with my use of language. Certainly disappointed with myself after I heard that. We know we gotta be careful. …I need to set a better example than that.”
Speaking about the relations between the two teams, Paine said, “I think the relations between the two teams have been great, there’s a healthy respect, it’s very competitive. When it’s all said and done, the way the spirit of this series has been played,99% of the time it’s been excellent.” The Australian keeper was also quoted saying “everything was fine with Ashwin” during the conference.
Although Paine did his best to disrupt the calm and patience of Indian batsmen, it worked out against him. Paine dropped three catches, including one of Hanuma Vihari on Day 5. Paine would definitely want to forget the nightmare the match turned out to be. The 36-year-old wicketkeeper was also fined 15% of the match fee after being found guilty of dissent.
Smith Scuffs Pant’s Guard Mark
In another controversial moment, Steve Smith was caught on the stump camera scuffing the guard marked by Rishabh Pant on the 5th day of the third test.
Vihari edges and a chance goes down late on the final day…
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 11, 2021
The ever-so-outspoken Virendra ‘Viru’ Sehwag took to Twitter and expressed his opinion in his own way. Check the tweet out:
Tried all tricks including Steve Smith trying to remove Pant’s batting guard marks from the crease. Par kuch kaam na aaya. Khaaya peeya kuch nahi, glass toda barana.
But I am so so proud of the effort of the Indian team today. Seena chonda ho gaya yaar. pic.twitter.com/IfttxRXHeM
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) January 11, 2021
The action has provoked a debate among cricket fans whether this action was done with bad intent. However, the Aussie skipper Paine said that Smith was just marking centre stump. In a post-match video conference, Paine said he had a word with Smith about the scuffing and said that Smith was disappointed with how he was misunderstood.
Speaking in a post-match video-conference after the end of the SCG Test, Tim Paine stated he had a chat with Steve Smith about the same and the latter was disappointed with the way he was misunderstood.
Paine further added, “He is always in the batting crease batting. As we know he has those many Steve Smith quirks. One of them is that he was always marking centre. He was certainly not changing (Pant’s) guard.”